I'm taking my Lieblingsmensch to (West) Sweden in May and am trying to figure out what to show him! It will be his first time in Sweden, and I really hope the weather will be nice! Not only because it is more enjoyable to go sightseeing when it's sunny and warm, but also because the pictures turn out better as well as the overall impression of the trip. Imagine if it rains the four days we're there, he'll never want to return!!

Anyhow. Apart from the weather, that I unfortunately can't do anything about myself, I'm trying to plan what to do, in order to give him the best first encounter with my home country. Apart from the obvious, meeting my very charming family and childhood friends (it'll be a marathon of "fika"), I also want to show him the best of West Sweden. Meaning of course, Borås, my hometown, Gothenburg, the capital of the West ;-), and probably Gränna and Eksjö, two very picturesque little towns with traditional Swedish houses and a lovely scenery an hour and a half away.

As all Germans, he's fascinated by mooses. So I'll look out for a moose park somewhere also...

Having lived abroad myself for quite some years now it will definitely be an opportunity to experience some new parts of my country as well. If you have any tips or advice of how to give him the best experience and where to take him during those four days in the regions around Borås/Göteborg and Eksjö/Gränna, let me know :-)

Move your blog to Nouw - now you can import your old blog - click here!

Likes

Comments

I'm having Teresa here this weekend and it's great! Brussels is showing itself from its best side, the sun is out, the flowers are starting to burst and it's very relaxed.

Teresa and I were flat mates for my first half a year in Brussels and when she moved back to Germany we stayed it touch and meet up twice per year or so.

She's one of those friends that I don't see everyday, don't talk with sometimes for weeks, but when we do it's as if we have never stopped talking :-)

Likes

Comments

Today it was 60 years ago since the Rome-treaty was signed and the EU was founded. Among the founding fathers we find Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Paul-Henri Spaak and Altiero Spinelli. These visionary leaders inspired the creation of the European Union, the peace project whose stability and prosperity we all benefit from, live in today and take for granted. It wouldn't had been possible without these leader's energy and motivation.

Let's all celebrate this day and continue to work for a thriving future for the European Union!

Likes

Comments

I assed those banners at work today, and they are really inspirational! More people (particularly in the European Parliament) should live by those words.

At the moment I'm having quite some mentorships with trainees and former trainees who are looking for their first real job in the EU bubble. They are all female, well educated and competent, but struggling to nestle themselves into the labour market, leaving the internship trap.

We all know that when supporting the growth and empowerment of women and girls, we raise the quality of life for everyone. This goes for all countries and continents, and even Europe, one of the richest continents of them all, has still a long way to go on this issue.

So it will be interesting to follow my little adepts this spring, to see if we together manage to make them rise to where they want to reach.

The key advice I'm giving them:

  • Work hard - tackle every task given to you with the best of your ability and ask for help when needing it. Even if some of the tasks might be considered beneath your ability, complete them properly and cheerfully!
  • Never miss a chance to learn new skills. Be proactive and ask smart questions, showing that you have understood what you're doing.
  • Network and behave in a respectful and humble way, you're a trainee, not yet an expert. Take part of social activities and mingling opportunities. The more people you meet the more likely you'll be remembered when there's a vacancy.
  • Seek feedback from your direct supervisor on a regular basis, in order to know how your performance is valuated and how you can develop further.
  • Make sure that your manager knows that you are looking for a job and would be willing to stay within the organisation.
  • Smile! You charisma with definitely help in shaping your personal trademark!
  • Send spontaneous applications to various companies. It takes longer, but the chances of getting something are higher than when applying or positions.
  • Start applying as soon as possible into your trainee ship and not towards the end of it. It takes time, and if you would find something and the employer really wants you, they will wait.

Likes

Comments

I normally dress properly and presentable with everything matching, because I never know which situation I might find myself in, particularly since I work with communication and knowing the power of communication through your outfit and power dressing. But today was not one of those days at all!

With my three thicker coats at the dry cleaner (yes, winter is over now, isn't it??) and the spring coats being to cold for the season I was left with my red coat, which is thick enough to keep my warm but that is more of a leisure coat. Still it's lean and fills its purpose. The only problem was that I had a powder pink dress that didn't match with it at all!

After a quick look into my agenda in the morning before leaving home (being in a rush, already) I saw that I shouldn't need to use my coat-dress combination more than when walking to/from work. But at midday that changed, since I needed to have an urgent meeting at Berlaymont, the Head quarter of the Commission. Oh no!

I saved the terribly eclectic situation by removing my coat (and changing shoes from my speedy sneakers in which I did the ten minute walk to stilettos of course) before entering, but I still met some colleagues in Park Leopold on my way to the Commission who probably wondered if I all of a sudden had become colour blind ;-)

In any case it made me think about how to dress for important meetings, and what makes me feel professional and confident.

  • Be practical. Don't overload your handbag just because there is enough space or walk to the external meeting in stilettos or too high heels. Actually now when it's getting warmer I'll start with my ballerinas again. Not to/from work, but for walks in between the institutions and other external meetings. Because walking in heels outdoors is not really recommendable in Brussels where the streets are uneven with cobble stones, and sneakers are not really giving that holistic appearance, that I want to radiate professionally.
  • Skip black and go for colour. Yes, as you've read above it doesn't always turn out splendidly, but in most cases colour makes the memorable difference needed. Noone remembers black. Colour can still be classic and professional. And if it's white, even better. It shows that you're in control and capable of keeping it white ;-)
  • Adapt your accessories to your outfit by this rule: if the clothes are patterned, keep the accessories simple and vise verse.
  • Wear a lipstick that goes in the right tone with the rest. It does make a difference and defintiely makes your appearance more vivid.


Likes

Comments

So, I'm turning 30 in September. Professionally it means that I've been working for nearly a decade by then. That's long, and I have had the try to try different working environments, companies and organisation.

I started at the foreign news desk of Sveriges Television, the Swedish public service broadcaster. By then I was a year into my journalist studies at Mid Sweden University. One day after coming home from the sports hall, where I had trained my gymnastics team, I had a missed phone call. So I called back and spoke to the head of the news desk (but I didn't know who she was or her position by then) asking if I could come to Stockholm for an interview. Of course I said, and within a week I had a train ticket and was on my way to the capital (where I had never been before actually). The interview was super difficult and I had also lost my voice, which wasn't ideal for a tv interview. But their question in the end was: When can you start? And on that path it is.

After two years it was time to move to Cairo, Egypt, where I worked half a year at the Egyptian state goverened TV station, then I returned to Sweden working as a news anchor at TV4 and reporter at Aftonbladet.

But I was restless and dying to have an international job and live somewhere else, so I was always looking for the right position. And finally one day I applied for an internship at the press unit of the European Parliament. It was paid and for five months and I thought that if I just manage to get into the house I'll find a way to stay. And so I did. A few weeks after starting I had signed the contract with my MEP. And this is where I am now. It might sound like I had a lot of luck, but in reality there is a lot of hard work, focus and behind. In building up my personal trademark, knowledge and experience.

For those of you who also have the same "restless" feeling that I had, and wanted to do something else I can tell you this:

  • The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide where you are going and that you are not going to stay where you are.
  • Set goals but stay flexible. Once you've set your sight on something you can start taking small steps in the right direction. Still, keep your mind open for opportunities you hadn't foreseen.
  • Explore. Your twenties is the perfect time for trying new and different things. You still have your whole career in front of you, but it doesn't mean that you need to stick to the same thing throughout it.
  • Find your passion! Success comes easier if you are working towards something you like.
  • Expand your network. Shake hands, mingle and introduce yourself to employers on your wish list, or other professionals who might be able to guide you.
  • Build your personal trademark. You name must send out a positive and reputable message. Figure out what is unique with you and your competences and use it to your advantage.
  • Be proactive by for example sending spontaneous applications. You need to create opportunities, not wait for them.
  • Knowledge is power. Get yourself a mentor who you trust and who can advise you. Soak up constructive criticism and feedback in order to improve. Read into fields that you want to know more about. Never stop learning.
  • Keep track of milestones and major achievements in your career, it will make it easier to frame your personal trademark and comes handing when updating your CV later.
  • Finally, your life doesn't get better by chance, it gets better by change.

Likes

Comments

It has always been my dream to have thick, curly hair reaching all the way to my waist, but considering how slowly it grows, how easy it gets damaged and breaks and it's natural texture not really showing how long it actually is, it's still just a dream. Another factor is that, being the first curly girl in my family, it took a long time (for me and my mum) to find out how to take care of it in the best way.

However, nothing is impossible and even if there's still long way to go, I'm having longer hair than ever before. And who know, one day I might wake up and realise that, wow, I made it!

A few pieces of advice that will help all of us curly girls to finally reach those lengths, that I'm incorporating:

  • Use a wide-toothed comb to prevent breakage and preserve the shape of the curls.
  • Start combing at the end of the lengths and work your way upwards towards the roots, it makes it much easier to dissolve the knots.
  • Only comb your hair when having lots of conditioner in it - it's much easier and causes less damage.
  • Skip shampoo completely, if you have dry hair like me, it's too aggressive.
  • Wring out the water from the hair by padding your towel carefully against it.
  • I sometimes apply a hair oil, like this one, to leave it lush, soft and shiny.
  • Don't blow dry your hair - unless you want to look like the red pom poms in the picture above ;-)

And of course, give your hair the best circumstances to grow by eating:

  • Protein. The main "ingredient" in hair. You find it beans, buts, fish, eggs and yoghurt
  • Omega 3, 6 and 7. You get in salmon, mackerel and other fat fish as well as for example flaxseed oil.
  • Vitamin C. Helps in absorbing minerals like iron and magnesium which improves your circulation. You find it in citrus fruits, bell peppers and kiwis among others.
  • Zinc. Low levels of zinc in the body can directly cause hair loss. Oysters have the most zinc of any food; beans, crab, lobster, chicken, and nuts all have zinc in them, too.
  • Biotin. This B-vitamin found in soy, walnuts and egg yolks as well as lots of hair-growth supplements makes wonders for healthy hair growth.
  • Vitamin B5. Prevents hair loss. Found in protein.

Finally - a good reminder of the fact that I can't control everything, is my curly hair.

Likes

Comments